It takes courage to engage in conflict conversations. Regardless of how centered and purposeful you are, confronting a problem (especially a problem that's been avoided for a while) can be upsetting.
When there is big ki coming toward you in the form of words, gestures, voice tone, volume, or unspoken (hidden) ki, you will need to manager your own reaction first.
In aikido on the mat, my partner and I give and receive energy through blending movements, touch, and intention.
Off the mat, you can use movement, words, and attitude to help you:
- Build a willingness to confront difficult moments,
- Take care of yourself in the process, and
- Handle whatever may come as a result.
When strong language or emotion is coming toward you, move. Literally step or turn sideways. Imagine you can see the oncoming verbal and emotional energy moving past you as you watch it, fascinated and curious.
Ask a Question. Let your partner talk until they run out of steam, while you center yourself. If you can't think of a question, here are some generic phrases that may work:
- "This seems important. Can you say more?"
- "What specifically is it about this (subject topic, issue, problem) that is most frustrating (annoying, troublesome, upsetting)?"
Our attitude is the first line of inner self-defense. Remember that your partner's reaction is really not about you. It is about how he/she sees the situation from their lens on the world, from their story, so ...
Jump into Discovery
Decide to be fascinated with what they're telling you instead of hurt, angry, or any other way of being that limits you.
Whether you choose to bring up a tough topic or the conversation is brought to you, receive your partner's ki with awareness and purpose, and turn what feels like an attack into useful energy. You have more power than you think.